Is it time for a bit of ‘green-grass’ thinking in some of our theatres and leisure venues?

Image shows a landscape of green grass and a blue sky with white clouds above
Green Grass and Blue Sky image labeled for reuse from Public Domain

Blue-sky thinking is great, of course. All those fabulous ideas that come swirling down and get you all giddy and excited…

But there’s a downside to the lure of this approach and the constant thrill-seeking of innovation. When these big new ideas sweep in they can make you believe that all the other ideas that came before are in place, up and running and working like a dream. But this, as we know, is very often not the case, and staff on the ground are left running to catch up, with the foundations of all the other big ideas left half-dug.

This may be particularly true in the world of theatre access and inclusivity. We learn about new bits of tech every day, or services that will help make the arts more accessible for a whole range of people and their requirements, from glasses allowing the wearer to read live captions to audio description delivery via your own smart phone. We can now provide video and audio versions of our what’s on guides, and with screen reading equipment the user themselves has more control of getting information just how they want it. Relaxed performances and Dementia friendly events are part of the everyday parlance now… but it doesn’t mean they’re happening. And if they are, are we still working on BSL and Captioned performances too? Just because all this great stuff exists in theory, it doesn’t mean that the humble induction loop is working properly in any more venues or that our blind and partially sighted patrons are finding it easier to navigate our websites, or our buildings for that matter.

There’s another downside to the blue-sky ideas – for some venues ‘blue-sky’ means they’re out of reach. There’s nothing more demoralising than feeling you are shut out from a solution due to money, time, or resources. It can make you want to give up and take your bat home, and that’s not going to help anyone.

So here’s where ‘green-grass’ thinking comes in… Continue reading “Is it time for a bit of ‘green-grass’ thinking in some of our theatres and leisure venues?”